I stood on the banks of a small lake looking into the clear water below me. At first it looked lifeless other then the ever present aquatic insects that swam erraticallyin circles. if you would look deeper however it wouldn’t appear so devoid of life. A species of pike cichlid inhabited this blackwater biotope, here the pike cichlids had taken over, and now they were the only species left other then some wolf fish.
That morning a hundred feet away from where I slept we found a small Surucucu a species of extremely, though thankfully unaggressive snake.
A few hours later I donned my snorkel mask and entered the cool water to get a closer look. As soon as I got in I saw a subadult pike, only a few feet away from me. It was incredible to see how the fish acted in their own invironment. I saw almost 20 pike cichlids and was able to get within less then a foot from a few of them.
Back on land I quickly began to look for some igarapes (jungle creeks) and after a few minutes walk in the woods I found the perfect one.
It was a small stream with a an incredible number of diverse and beautiful plants all around it. The water was clear, with no trace of ammonia, or nitrite. The ph was lower then 6.0, the kh about 17.0 and it was very soft.
The first scoop of my net produced a few beautiful pencilfish and a shimmering female Apistogramma hippolytae!
The next scoop brought five more tetras which I placed in a breather bag with the female Apistogramma. I had to leave but I knew that I could come back after eating steak for lunch, after all, steak, cokes and Apistogrammas, does life get better?
I arrived at the site and with a few dips of my net caught a beautiful male A. hippolytae. I also caught a few splash tetras and some shrimp.
After catching an Aequidens sp. and a pike cichlid I tried to go down stream but the jungle was too thick. Then I returned with the catches.
The next day I went back a differant way planning to hit the igarape up river but after almost a half an hour of battling knee deep mud I only found more mud. In the end I caught one one inch Aequidens.
The next day we packed the fish and headed for home, all the fish survived and are living happily in my tanks.